MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Doing business with the dead is the goal of a new program at Southwest Tennessee Community College in funeral services.
Leaders say the added education in the Mid-South is needed.
This program will be offered exclusively at Southwest's Whitehaven center starting in January.
The college says they already have interested students and they're looking for more.
“There is a demand for more funeral professionals in this area,” said program director Ron Johnson. Baby Boomers are getting older in Shelby County and across the country.
However, the problem is the closest training grounds for future funeral directors and embalmers are in North Mississippi and Nashville.
That's why Southwest Tennessee Community College is starting its own 63-hour associate's degree program in Funeral Service Education.
“You find most of the time this is a family business,” Johnson said. “You find students that come from family-oriented funeral homes and want to be a part of the funeral industry.”
The curriculum covers business, law and ethics, the sciences, and social sciences.
Students will hold apprenticeships at area funeral homes and be able to get their license upon graduating.
If they qualify for Tennessee’s Promise and Reconnect scholarships, tuition is free.
Johnson has two decades of experience in the industry and said prospective students should know they can leave lasting impacts in a family’s most trying times.
“That’s the best satisfaction that you can get knowing you have served the family and you’ve served them with dignity and you’ve served them with respect during their time of need,” Johnson said.